Resident Rounds: Part I. Program Spotlight: Pennsylvania State University Dermatology Residency Program

March 2013 | Volume 12 | Issue 3 | Features | 350 | Copyright © March 2013

Charlene Lam MD MPH, Jeffrey J. Miller MD MBA, and Joslyn S. Kirby MD

Department of Dermatology, Pennsylvania State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA

Resident Rounds is a section of the JDD dedicated to highlighting various dermatology departments with residency training programs. Resident Rounds includes three sections: (1) a program spotlight, highlighting pertinent information about the department and residency training program; (2) a section presenting study materials used by residents at the program; and (3) a section designed to highlight recent interesting cases seen at the institution. This issue of Resident Rounds features the Pennsylvania State University Dermatology Residency Program. The editor of Resident Rounds is Omar A. Ibrahimi MD PhD. He is currently the Founding and Medical Director of the Connecticut Skin Institute. Dr. Ibrahimi is also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dermatology Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. If you are interested in highlighting your training program in a future issue, please contact Dr. Ibrahimi at
In 2002, the Department of Dermatology at Pennsylvania State University was established by Dr. James Marks after Dr. Donald Lookingbill founded the division in 1975. The dermatology residency program was started in 1982 with one resident per year. It has currently grown to 3 residents per year with an additional track dedicated to training physician scientists (Figure 1). The purpose of the physician scientist track is to promote research skills in addition to clinical proficiency in individuals interested in an investigative dermatology career. Our graduates have embarked in careers both in academic and community settings and in all aspects of dermatology, including pediatrics, pathology, cosmetics, surgery, and medical dermatology.
The department is proud of its high faculty to resident ratio, with 13 full-time academic faculty. Together, they have diverse areas of expertise to enhance learning experiences, including pediatrics, contact dermatitis, hair, acne, cosmetics, dermatopathology, inflammatory skin conditions, and skin oncology.
The department is committed to developing well-rounded physician leaders with a passion for patient care and lifelong scientific curiosity. From the start of training, residents are established as the primary provider for their patients in their continuity clinics. This allows residents to cultivate long-term, meaningful relationships with their patients. Residents acquire real-world training by managing their own patients with the guidance of faculty experts. Continuity of care allows residents to appreciate the natural history of disease, impact of therapy, and evolution of care. Residents change their schedules yearly so they experience the practice styles of all the faculty preceptors.
Residents have half a day of surgery clinic each week, which is filled with their own patient cases as well as cases referred by other providers. Residents also get significant experience with the challenges of acute outpatient care with one half day
table 1
per week spent in the Open Access Clinic.1 Inpatient care is also an important part of residency training. Residents direct the inpatient consult service for at least 1 month each year.
Resident development is supported through a comprehensive curriculum, utilizing various education methods from lectures to unknown sessions. Residents have a weekly dermatopathology conference, where interpretive knowledge is honed and refined. Our Mohs micrographic surgeons also present a series of procedural topics. Residents are given dedicated time for in-depth experiences with our dermatopathologists and surgeons yearly. During the third year, residents are given time to tailor an elective to their personal interests. Residents regularly attend grand rounds at the Geisinger Medical Center and in Philadelphia. In addition, we host our own monthly grand rounds and visiting professors are invited 3 to 4 times annually to further enrich the learning process.